Carpetbaggers and Scalawags. They were creatively unkind names used in the South for certain men in society and politics during the Reconstruction Era. I’d heard the historical terms and was familiar with their general definition, but I decided to delve into the connotation and history of these names and see if these men where really the villains, heroes in disguise, suspicious characters, or something else entirely.
This has been quite a research project today (yep, I didn’t pre-write this blog post – hence the late posting time). Earlier in the week, I planned to write about the effects of Reconstruction on the Civil War’s Border States; however, as I dug into the history of the topic – requested by a blog reader – I realized that to do it full justice, I needed some more research time and a particular resource that isn’t readily available. So – being flexible – I changed topics in the middle of the process, and decided to explore the details of these names so closely associated with the Reconstruction Era.
Hopefully, you’ll find some interesting historical details and maybe a new perspective on Northerners going south and Southerners turning Republican.
Please note: the terms “Carpetbagger” and “Scalawag” are used to explain and define since these terms are typically used in history books. In this blog post, they are not meant in the disrespectful, insensitive way; I decided to keep the historical terms to avoid confusion and since these labels are often used in general discussion of this period of history.
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In 1865, the fighting on Civil War battlefields ended, but the questions were far from over. And new questions had been created during the war. One of the most exciting and most explosive questions of the era was: what did freedom look like and how would full freedom be attained by/for the former slaves?
Attempting to answer that question and solve innumerable problems, the Freedmen’s Bureau was established – originally to provide temporary aid and later re-imagined to a role that this agency never had the power successfully fill. Though the Bureau had good intentions, mixed signals from the government, lack of power/manpower, and an over-arching racism problem throughout the country limited its effectiveness.
Last August a blog reader emailed me and asked me to write specifically about the Freedman’s Bureau and its role in the Reconstruction Era. Thanks for pushing me to dig deeper into this interesting part of the era; hopefully, it will be insightful to you as well. Continue reading →
There’s tons of information about the American Civil War…and somehow it’s easy to sweep the immediate post-war years under the carpet. The Reconstruction Era – as it’s called – was a challenging time in U.S. History. Politics, economy, society, and culture went through upheaval and change. Not all the change was handled well, creating additional conflicts, bitterness, and continued sectional tension.
I’ve found that tough topics are better discussed than ignored. So…for August 2017 we’ll be talking about the Reconstruction every Friday of the month and regularly on Twitter and Facebook. Hopefully, the information will be enlightening and helpful as we try to make sense of the Civil War’s outcomes and how it has effect our modern era.
Here are ten things you should about the Reconstruction Era: Continue reading →